t American types which conquer the aborigines. So in every island throughout the world. Alph. De Candolle's results (though he does not see its full importance), that thoroughly well naturalised [plants] are in general very different from the aborigines (belonging in large proportion of cases to non-indigenous genera) is most important always to bear in mind. Once for all, I am sure, you will understand that I thus write dogmatically for brevity sake.


This doctrine is superfluous (and groundless) on the theory of Natural Selection, which implies no NECESSARY tendency to progression. A monad, if no deviation in its structure profitable to it under its EXCESSIVELY SIMPLE conditions of life occurred, might remain unaltered from long before the Silurian Age to the present day. I grant there will generally be a tendency to advance in complexity of organisation, though in beings fitted for very simple conditions it would be slight and slow. How could a complex organisation profit a monad? if it did not profit it there would be no advance. The Secondary Infusoria differ but little from the living. The parent monad form might perfectly well survive unaltered and fitted for its simple conditions, whilst the offspring of this very monad might become fitted for more complex conditions. The one primordial prototype of all living and extinct creatures may, it is possible, be now alive! Moreover, as you say, higher forms might be occasionally degraded, the snake Typhlops SEEMS (?!) to have the habits of earth-worms. So that fresh creatures of simple forms seem to me wholly superfluous.


I am not sure that I understand your remarks which follow the above. We must under present knowledge assume the creation of one or of a few forms in the same manner as philosophers assume the existence of a power of attraction without any explanation. But I entirely reject, as in my judgment quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition "of new powers and attributes and forces;" or of any "principle of improvement," except in so far as every character which is naturally selected or preserved is in some way an advantage or improvement, otherwise it would not have been selected. If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish, but I have firm faith in it, as I cannot believe, that if false, it would explain so many whole classes of facts, which, if I am in my senses, it seems to explain. As far as I understand your remarks and illustrations, you doubt the possibility of gradations of intellectual powers. Now, it seems to me, looking to existing animals alone, that we have a very fine gradation in the intellectual powers of the Vertebrata, with one rather wide gap (not half so wide as in many cases of corporeal structure), between say a Hottentot and a Ourang, even if civilised as much mentally as the dog has been from the wolf. I suppose that you do not doubt that the intellectual powers are as important for the welfare of each being as corporeal structure; if so, I can see no difficulty in the most intellectual individuals of a species being continually selected; and the intellect of the new species thus improved, aided probably by effects of inherited mental exercise. I look at this process as now going on with the races of man; the less intellectual races being exterminated. But there is not space to discuss this point. If I understand you, the turning-point in our difference must be, that you think it impossible that the intellectual powers of a species should be much improved by the continued natural selection of the most intellectual individuals. To show how minds graduate, just reflect how impossible every one has yet found it, to define the difference in mind of man and the lower animals; the latter seem to have the very same attributes in a much lower stage of perfection than the lowest savage.

Charles Darwin

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